Survival rates increase when drugs suppress hep C in blood

January 2nd, 2013

A recent Dutch study has found that patients with hepatitis C who have no detectable virus in their blood for six months after treatment are less likely to die than those who don’t have this ‘sustained viral response’.

“Sustained viral response was associated with prolonged overall survival,” wrote a team led by Dr Adriaan van der Meer, of Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam. “The risk of all-cause mortality was fourfold lower in [these] patients” compared to patients whose viral load was not suppressed for six months or more, they said.

Survival rates increase when drugs suppress hep C in blood

The article, published in the 26 December issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, details how researchers noted that “chronic hepatitis C virus infection is a major cause of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer), and end-stage liver disease,” and the incidence of these types of virus-linked illnesses “is expected to increase in upcoming years.”

The study looked at 530 patients with advanced liver fibrosis (scarring that occurs in response to liver damage).  The patients, based in Europe and Canada, began interferon-based treatment between 1990 and 2003, and were followed for a median of more than eight years.

Among the patients, 192 (36%) achieved sustained viral response. However, just 13 of the patients with a sustained virus response died, compared to 100 of those patients who did not maintain viral suppression, the researchers found.

The team determined that the 10-year, all-cause death rate was about 9% among patients with sustained viral response and 26% among those without this response.

Further analysis revealed that sustained viral response was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause death, liver-related death, and liver transplantation.

More information on the study can be found in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Photo by thephotographymuse

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